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Reading time: 11 minutes

Unlocking the Power of Engagement

Connecting with Your Audience for Lasting Impact

Back in 2019/2020, GoPro released their Hero8 Black and Max cameras. The Hero8 ended up being one of the most sold models of their cameras ever. And they managed that by engaging with their audience. Instead of making endless advertising videos, GoPro made a few teaser and thriller videos that showcased enough of the Hero8 to let people know it’s out there. What they did then was launch a campaign called the Million Dollar Challenge, in which they invited their audience to film and submit their action-packed videos for a chance of winning $1 million and to have their video featured in the official GoPro promotional videos.

The campaign was a runaway success, GoPro got over 42 thousand submissions from all over the world. They had sparked their audience’s interest and imagination and their audience engaged with them like never before.

In today’s fast-paced, complex, and ever-changing world, it’s crucial for your business to build meaningful connections with your target audience, and now more than ever it is a necessity for continued growth and success.

That is why you and your business need a well-thought-out and effective engagement strategy. Such a strategy goes beyond the catchy adverts and social media likes, it’s about creating a bridge that connects your business goals with the desires and needs of your audience and understands what their pain points are. It’s about crafting a journey that keeps your audience connected to your brand.

So, whether you’re starting out in your career, a small business, a startup looking to establish your presence or a seasoned entrepreneur seeking to revamp your approach, then in this article, we’ll explore the key elements of a successful engagement strategy. At the end of the article, there’s a special link and announcement for how you can learn to create your own successful audience engagement strategy that suits your unique business needs.

Building the Foundation - Crafting Your Engagement Strategy

When embarking on a successful engagement strategy, you need to begin with a solid foundation. There are a few key elements that need to be in place for you to have this strong groundwork from which you can build.

The first of these is defining your own business goals, understanding your audience’s goals and their reasons for engaging with you, and aligning all of these objectives. You need to have a clear set of goals. What do you want to achieve? Increased revenue, brand awareness, customer loyalty, or all of the above? These goals serve as your North Star, guiding how your entire strategy is shaped.

You will also need to grasp how and what your audience’s aspirations and pain points are. They are looking for a solution to a problem that they have, so take the time to walk in their shoes and figure out what is motivating them to come to you, and then consider how you can align your strategy to their specific needs. Alignment isn’t about making their goals yours or your goals theirs, it is about knowing that you are providing what they need, and not providing what you think they want.

The next key element is that you will also need to break down these goals into more manageable targets and milestones, which act as markers for your success and can also be used as points of measurement. Doing these will give you an outline of your audience’s experience, helping to map out the journey that your audience will take, it will aid you in keeping on track throughout your engagement journey.

The main benefit of mapping out the journey is that it will help you visualize the entire process and identify all the touchpoints in the experience that you provide. Such as points that motivate your audience, giving them a purpose and reason to be there. Points that spark interest in your audience, causing them to explore further. And points that cause pain or discomfort, which they either need to overcome or you need to address in case it causes them to drop out of the experience.

To be able to do all of that you will need to truly walk in their shoes. You can do that, in a way, by crafting personas and tribes of your audience that allow you to segment and target more effectively. And the most effective way to do that is by considering your audience’s motivation and emotions for taking certain actions. You’re not looking at what gender they are, what age or where they live. No, you’re looking at why they would come to you, what pain they are trying to alleviate, and what motivations they must take certain actions that alleviate that pain most efficiently and effectively possible.

Once you’ve got all these foundational key elements in place, then you can start looking at how you build the experience, using a six-stage process, and what types of mechanics and triggers you can use to help your audience reach the right destination.

Engagement Mechanics, Triggers and Paths - Finding the Right Approach

With the foundation for your engagement strategy in place, the next steps are to craft your audience’s path through experience and select the right mechanics and triggers.

To craft your audience’s experiential journey, you can use the six-stage process of the experience path. The six stages consist of Discovery, Acquisition, Onboarding, Instructional Scaffolding, Mastery and Endgame.

Discovery is quite literally where they discover you. It’s how you make yourself known, and how your brand awareness is being done. If no one knows about you, they won’t be able to discover you.

The next stage is Acquisition, this is where an audience member has discovered you, has become interested, and now you need to ‘convert’ them into becoming your audience, your customer. And this is done by offering information, a gift, a freebie, something that they can purchase quickly and easily.

After you’ve acquired your audience members, you will need to onboard them onto the experience that you’ve built. This is essentially inviting them into your brand world, slowly and bit by bit teaching them all the things you offer and can help them with.

Once you’ve managed to onboard them, you then need to ‘educate’ them. This stage of Instructional Scaffolding is where you provide guidance and support to your audience as they progress in their engagement journey. It’s like teaching someone to swim. You start with a life jacket (basic instructions) and gradually remove it as they gain confidence (advanced instructions). And slowly add more complex moves such as swimming underwater. Another example is where you help educate your audience on all the features of your product and how if they added certain features or learned certain practices, they would be able to get more out of their purchase.

Once your audience reaches the Mastery stage, it means that they have essentially achieved their desired goal, whether it’s becoming an expert in a particular field or enjoying a seamless product experience. Your engagement strategy must ensure they don’t just meet their goals but excel in them, this then leads to brand loyalty and advocacy.

The final stage is the Endgame, and this is where you will need to direct your audience to an additional or another path within your brand experience ecosystem. Or accept the fact that you and they had a good time, but it’s now time to part ways. Though preferably it is the former because a long-lasting loyal relationship is more beneficial for both of you.

While you are going through and building out these various sequential stages, it is crucial for you to select the right engagement mechanics and triggers. These are the tactics and tools that will help captivate your audience and maintain their interest. But the most important aspect to understand is that it’s not about quantity; it’s about quality. You will need to navigate the intricate landscape of engagement mechanics, ensuring you choose the most suitable ones for your unique goals. And the options for the mechanics range from gamification elements, and personalized content, to interactive social media campaigns. Choose those that align best with your audience and goals.

Not only are they important for achieving your goals and your audience’s goals, but they are also important in selecting what types of metrics you will use to determine whether you have been successful or not in your engagement strategy.

Evaluating Your Strategy - Pros and Cons Assessment

It’s always important to be evaluating your strategy, as you go through developing it and as you implement it. Reflection is a vital part of the process of building an engagement strategy.

When reflecting on the process, both during and after, you need to ask yourself how you felt the project went. What were the positives and negatives? What changed during the project, if anything, and how did it change between what you initially envisioned versus what the final outcome was? Consider what you’ve learned during the process, what you would do differently and what you would improve upon.

Naturally for this reflective method to be of greater value, you will need metrics that show the effectiveness of what you’ve done. You’ll need to consider what the right metrics are at each of the six stages as well as throughout your engagement journey as that of the audience’s journey.

Whether it’s milestones achieved, conversion rate numbers, user retention, or social media engagement, metrics will help you understand what’s working and what needs improvement.

The most important part of using metrics is that they are part of a holistic approach to your engagement strategy. This piece may be written linearly, but the strategy should be seen more as a cyclic methodology that informs and iterates on itself. Probably the best visualisation, be it a difficult one, is to see your engagement strategy as a circular Celtic knot. Your goals, your audience’s goals, targets, milestones, touchpoints, mechanics and so on are all part of the experience path and they inform what metrics you will use and what data you will get out of them. No one aspect of your strategy stands alone, each is a cog or a gear in a larger system that helps everything work together to help make it successful.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’re now contemplating how to craft your engagement strategy. Regardless of where you are in your career or what position you are in your business, remember that success lies in the careful planning and execution of a strong and unique engagement strategy.

As we saw from the start, defining your goals, aligning them with your audience’s needs, understanding your audience and crafting an experience journey is what builds a robust and flexible approach to engaging your audience.

After reading this article, I invite you to reconsider how you would present your strategy to your colleagues or stakeholders. What insights have you gained? Your engagement strategy is a dynamic and evolving process, so take the time to fine-tune and adapt it as you continue to grow and connect with your audience. Your journey towards building a meaningful and lasting connection with your audience starts here. Your audience is waiting, and with the right strategy, your business can flourish.

Now if this primer to audience engagement has gotten you interested then I invite you to first click the button below and join the æStranger email list, to receive tips and advice on how to keep improving your audience engagement and retention.

In addition, if you want to learn even more about how you can put together your own audience engagement strategy, then æStranger has just released its Beginner’s Cours in AEX Design. You can study everything that has been discussed in this article in much greater detail with 12 on-demand video lessons, which include a variety of case studies showing how companies have been successful with these techniques and tools.

If you’re interested in this, then click the link below to explore everything that is on offer in this unique course.

I hope that this piece has given you some food for thought and helped improve your own methods or at least offered a different viewpoint to consider.

Do check out the other posts on æ, and do leave a comment or contact us if you have some ideas of your own that you wish to discuss or if you would like to see other topics discussed.

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